clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Betting preview: Wisconsin @ Ohio State

Can the Badgers cover in their first underdog spot of 2019?

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Championship-Ohio State vs Wisconsin Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

If you or someone you know might have a gambling problem, call or text the National Problem Gambling Hotline confidentially at 1-800-522-4700. Odds and figures based on October, 23, 2019, for current odds visit The Action Network.

It was a painful loss the last time the Wisconsin Badgers took the field, and the pain was probably even worse if you laid the 31 points with UW against the Illinois Fighting Illini. Hearts and wallets both felt the sorrow as the Badgers lost 24-23, making them the biggest ATS loser of 2019.

The lost was monumentally bad, but at least the under hit....? That pushes the column to 10-4 on the season, and now the Badgers head back out on the road for an even bigger test against one of the nation’s top teams in the Ohio State Buckeyes.

The Badgers come into Week 9 as an underdog for the first time this season. It’s a role that the Badgers have not played yet, but still enter this game as two score dogs. The spread for this game opened up at 14.5 in favor of Ohio State but has slowly crept down to 14 and should hold there up until kickoff. The total for this game opened up at 51, and currently sits at 50. Both plays present some value, but first lets look at some trends.

  • Wisconsin is 2-8 ATS over the last ten games against Ohio State, 1-9 SU
  • Wisconsin is 1-4 ATS in their last five games at Ohio State
  • Wisconsin is 7-4 ATS as an underdog in the Paul Chryst Era
  • Ohio State is 6-1 ATS in 2019
  • Ohio State is 6-0 ATS in their last six conference games
  • The total has gone under in five of Wisconsin’s seven games this season
  • The total has gone over in four of Ohio State’s last seven games

ATS Pick: Wisconsin (+14.5)

After last week’s game, tickets on Ohio State have come in heavy with 69% (Editor’s note: nice) of the bets being placed on the Buckeyes to cover this weekend. However, I think recency bias plays a significant role in this game. Public bettors tend to overreact on a week to week basis, which causes lines to be shaded toward the heavy side. They see a Wisconsin team that just lost as 31 point favorites, and immediately run to the windows to take the much more talented Ohio State.

However, if you don’t overreact you see that this game is still closer than it seems. A handicapper confidant of mine out in Vegas said this game would be in the 9.5-10 point range had Wisconsin taken care of business against Illinois. That means you’re getting four extra points of value on Wisconsin. Ohio State could cover this spread of course, but I am willing to take the extra points with line inflation and fade the public. I much prefer a play on the total, but if you’re playing a side I’d have to take the three scores with the Badgers.

Over/Under? Over 50

This game features the first and second ranked defenses in college football. Wisconsin comes into this game as the top total and run defense in the country, while Ohio State boasts the second ranked total defense and second ranked passing defense. That by most accounts screams under, but the over still seems to be the popular bet.

65% of the bets are on the over with 91% of the money on that same side. That shows a 26% difference between bets and money, meaning the big players (also known as sharps) are taking the over in this game. The projected line in this game is at 64, so a total sitting at 50 is heavily shaded towards the public seeing the top two defenses and taking the under.

However, Ohio State has easily hit that number in their games this season. Ohio State’s average margin of victory is 41.8 ppg, so taking an under in this seems hard pressed given the offensive firepower. I fully expect the Badgers to slow down the Buckeyes, but I still believe they’ll get their points. I have this games rated scored at 31-21 Ohio State, so to me I think there is more value on the over currently.